Provokr Pick: Captain Marvel
Marvel's First Female Lead
On one hand, it’s easy to be mad at Marvel Studios for taking eleven years and twenty-one movies to finally have a female protagonist, but now that it’s here, the only emotion we feel is pure joy. Captain Marvel, like Black Panther before it, shows how the super hero movie can be at once a rollicking adventure, a gripping character study, and a cultural milestone.
Brie Larson stars as “Vers,” though a big part of the movie is devoted to her Bourne-esque quest to discover her true identity. A soldier who fights alongside an elite squad of Kree warriors, her journey eventually takes her to Earth, where she learns that her origins may be more terrestrial than she originally thought, and the galactic war between the Kree and the Skrulls may be more complicated than she has been led to believe.
On Earth, she meets up with Nick Fury and Phil Coulson, agents of SHIELD, and then the fun truly begins. The film is primarily set in 1995, so cutting edge visual effects were employed to digitally de-age Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg so they could convincingly appear as their younger selves on screen. The results are nothing less than perfect, though one imagines less work was required on their faces than in Martin Scorsese‘s upcoming The Irishman, which is tasked with trimming 40 years or so off of its own stars, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci.
The legend goes that Marvel mega-producer Kevin Feige had been trying to make a Captain Marvel film for years, but the notorious Ike Perlmutter refused to allow it, not wanting to waste money on a film that didn’t star a white male lead. After being acquired by Disney, Feige was able to bargain his way out from under the thumb of Ike, leading to the current slate of Marvel movies, which includes diverse heroes like Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and the upcoming Shang-Chi.
Captain Marvel is another hit for Marvel Studios, which has an incredible track record of success (of the aforementioned 21 movies in 11 years, not a single one is truly a dud), and franchise fans will have a blast seeing younger versions of Fury and Coulson, as well as characters from Guardians of the Galaxy adding to the growing continuity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Regular moviegoers will enjoy the attitude, adventure, and 1990s setting (complete with a Nine Inch Nails t-shirt and awesome jukebox soundtrack), but the true audience for this film is girls of all ages. Like Wonder Woman before it, Captain Marvel is an event. There are a hundred thousand superhero movies with male leads, but so pitifully few starring women. Duds like Elektra and Catwoman put studios off from taking chances with other heroines, while ignoring that those films failed, not because they starred women, but because they were soulless and devoid of charm, character, compelling action, and other elements that make films successful.
Naturally, there is a backlash against Captain Marvel, from the same incel assholes who throw a hissy fit when nobody matches them on Tinder. They’re mad that a woman is the most powerful hero in the MCU and that she doesn’t give a damn about proving herself to her male counterparts. She proudly has zero fucks to give, and gatekeeping rubes lose their minds when a girl is unwilling to play their games; hey, pal, maybe if you ditch the MAGA hat, lose the swastika armband, and read a book instead of the president’s Twitter feed, a girl might be more interested in going out on a date with you. Fortunately, these mouth-breathing dweebs are a vocal minority, a fraction of the pop culture community, and can be safely ignored.
Captain Marvel is in theaters now and it fucking rocks.